“Ty, what’s wrong?”
When I think about dealing with my mental health during childhood, the first thing I think about is the day I was lying on the couch at a very young age crying. My mom asked me what was wrong in this confused, concerned, but yet with a tired voice. “I don’t know,” I replied to my mother. The truth was I didn’t know what was wrong. Honestly, I was confused because I knew I was sad, but I didn’t understand why. I couldn’t stop crying or be happy. It was one of many episodes that I had throughout my life and it has been a battle as long as I can remember. I received my first diagnosis of clinical depression.
In elementary school, I had my first of many encounters with a psychologist and psychiatrist after seeing my school counselor. I was prescribed medication to help with the symptoms of depression. However, I was in denial and refusing the treatment.
I grew up wanting to be what society viewed as being “normal.” I hide my mental health challenges to act “normal” and fit in. I wished I was “normal,” prayed to God, and questioned why I was different. I reminded myself that God loves me anyway.
I had my first suicide attempt when I was a freshman in high school. This attempt involved taking pills. My mom walked into my room after being told by a friend’s grandmother. I told my friend I was suicidal. After this attempt, I received a second diagnosis of major depressive disorder, along with an anxiety disorder and bipolar disorder.
In my early 20’s, I was referred to a community mental health facility after a night of being in crisis. Depression, anxiety, community mental health facilities, mobile crisis units, doctors, emergency rooms, suicidal ideations, and thoughts were a part of my life from then on. However, I was still in denial and refusing treatment. And then, something changed my outlook and view on my situation.
When I looked up and saw my daughter standing outside the kitchen, looking at me with tears rolling down her face with a scared and confused look, I knew it was time. It was time to surrender. It was time to get help. It was time to accept that something was wrong. I grabbed the water that I planned to wash down the pills to end my life. I asked God for strength, and he sent my children --- literally. After looking at my strength (my daughter) right in the face, I knew I couldn’t go through wi